12 posts tagged Jewish Food
This is my no-better-than-this-one cheesecake.
I have tasted all sorts. Plain, chocolate, gloppy-cherry-topped, graham cracker crusted, pumpkin-infused, brandy-spiked, caramel swirled. Sara Lee’s, Lindy’s, Eli’s, Junior’s.
Not that I spend my life eating cheesecake. In fact, cheesecake is a rare item at our house because, let’s face it, there are enough calories in one slice for an entire meal.
Nope. Cheesecake is reserved for special occasions, like Shavuot (which begins at sundown May 14 this year). It’s tradition to eat dairy on this holiday, and cheesecake has always been the most popular holiday dessert.
As far as I’m concerned, because cheesecake is such a rarity in my life, it has to be worthy. Worthy of a celebration. Worth adding all those calories to my day.
This one is.
New York Cheesecake
1-1/2 teaspoons butter or margarine
1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs (approximately)
1-1/2 pounds cream cheese (3-8 ounce packages)
freshly grated peel of one small orange
2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1/3 cup dairy sour cream or unflavored yogurt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the butter on the bottom and sides of a 9” springform pan. Sprinkle the inside of the pan with the graham cracker crumbs. Shake the pan to coat the bottom and sides of the pan completely. Beat the cream cheese, orange peel and lemon peel together in the bowl of an electric mixer set at medium speed for 1-2 minutes or until the cheese has softened and is smooth. Gradually add the vanilla, cream and sugar and beat for 2-3 minutes or until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally with a rubber spatula. Add the eggs one at a time, beating them in after each addition. Stir in the sour cream. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Prepare a bain-marie, that is, place the springform pan inside a larger pan. Fill the larger pan with enough hot water to come at least 1-inch up the sides of the baking dish. Bake for 70-75 minutes or until the top of the cake is lightly browned. Remove the springform pan from the larger pan and let the cake cool in the springform pan. When the cake has reached room temperature, refrigerate it for at least 4 hours or until it is thoroughly chilled. Remove the sides of the pan to serve the cake. Slices best using a knife that has been inserted into very hot water. Makes one
During the hearings for Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, Senator Lindsey Graham wanted to know what she knew about the Christmas Day Bomber. So he asked: “where were you on Christmas day?”
And Kagan, who is obviously smart and witty, said: “You know, like all Jews, I was probably at a Chinese restaurant.”
She got a fierce round of applause.
I don’t know if Senator Graham understood the joke, but anyone who is Jewish, or hangs out with people who are Jewish or at least lives in a place where there are Jewish people knows that Jewish people are famous for doing three things on Christmas:
Going to the movies
Working in a Soup Kitchen
Eating Chinese food
Some say it’s a tribal thing. I don’t know. My children and grandchildren are always at my house on Christmas, especially if it falls over a long weekend like this year’s kind of is. We re-do Hanukkah, open gifts that I hadn’t bought in time for that and go to my brother Jeff and sister-in-law Eileen’s house because they have a universal type holiday party. And there are too many young children in the family to go out to any Chinese restaurant that would have us or go to the movies or work in a soup kitchen.
This year it’s Ginger-Chicken Skewers. They’re tangy and sweet, have eye appeal and can be prepared up to the point of actualy cooking, in advance.
Which makes these perfect hors d’oeuvre for New Year’s if you’re entertaining. Or any old time I suppose.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy New Year to all.
Honestly, I think it’s a whole lot easier just to say Happy Holidays, which covers it all. But I don’t feel like getting too political here. This is about a good hors d’oeuvre.
Ginger Chicken Skewers
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons sesame seed oil
3 scallions, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped ginger
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
Combine the soy sauce, orange juice, vegetable oil, sesame seed oil, scallions and ginger in a medium bowl. Cut the chicken into strips about 3-inches long and 1/2-inch wide. Immerse the chicken in the soy sauce mixture and let soak for 2-3 hours. Remove the stem, pith and seeds from the peppers and cut them into chunks. Soak 2-1/2 dozen wooden skewers in cold water for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven broiler or outdoor grill. Thread the skewers using one strip of chicken, placing different color pepper pieces between the curves. Broil chicken 6 minutes, turning skewers occasionally, or until chicken is cooked through. Makes 2-1/2 dozen
Apples and Honey may be the most celebrated of Rosh Hashanah foods, but plums are also high on the list. Anyone who grew up in a Jewish household is surely familiar with Plum Torte, a standard item for the High Holidays. In fact, I think that every year, or nearly every year, the New York Times publishes a recipe for it.
But this year, in addition to my usual plum torte, I am making Plum Cake. There is an abundance of gorgeous, plump, prune plums (a/k/a President plums) in the market and I couldn’t resist, so I bought several pounds to bake with.
I once wrote about how much I loved my Aunt Beck’s apple cake, a favorite end-of-summer and Jewish holiday treat. So I changed a few ingredients and proportions here and there and made it into plum cake. It not only tastes as good as the apple version, the colors are festive and gorgeous. I think Aunt Beck would like it.
1 large egg
1/3 cup sugar
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons orange juice (or apple, apricot, mango)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons grated fresh orange or lemon peel
2 pounds Italian prune plums (or President plums)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, cut into tiny pieces
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. To make the crust, beat the egg, sugar, vegetable oil and orange juice together in a mixer set at medium speed for 1-2 minutes or until well mixed. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and citrus peel and mix until a smooth, soft, uniform dough has formed, about 2-3 minutes. Cut the dough into two pieces, one piece twice as large as the other. Roll each piece on a lightly floured surface. Fit the larger piece into the bottom and up the sides of an 8”x8” or 9”x9” pan Wash the plums, cut in half and remove the pit. Slice the plums. Place them in a bowl. Add the sugar, cinnamon and flour and place the mixture inside the dough. Dot the surface with butter. Roll the smaller piece of dough and place it on top. Press the edges to seal them. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until well browned. Makes 8-12 servings